The Los Angeles Rams are 7-3 as they head out of the bye week. They are just one game out of the NFC’s top seed and for the most part will control their own destiny down the stretch. They’ll need some help to win the NFC West. However, if the Rams take care of business, they’ll be in good shape.
The Rams come out of the bye off of back-to-back losses. Here are five adjustments they need to make in the season’s second half.
1. Find Identity On Offense
Over the last two weeks, the Los Angeles Rams have been without an identity on offense. When things go bad, there doesn’t seem to be something that the offense can hang their hat on and revert back to in order to right the ship. The Rams have scored 26 points over the last two weeks, but 14 of those points have come essentially in garbage time. That’s 12 points in two weeks. For a team that prides itself on its offense, that’s concerning.
It’s true that Matthew Stafford brings more to the offense. However, Sean McVay needs to get back to running the Sean McVay offense. The offense was smooth under Jared Goff. Yes, Goff made his share of mistakes, but the offense had an identity. It revolved around play-action and the run game. The Rams have a quarterback that can make more throws than Goff, but that shouldn’t mean completely turning away from what made the offense click with Goff.
If the Rams can find and identity on offense, they’ll be able to start games faster and be able to turn to something when the gameplan goes off the tracks. As it stands, that isn’t the case and it’s results in back-to-back blowouts.
2. Play Disciplined
Over the last two weeks, the Los Angeles Rams were making mistakes that average and bad teams make. This resulted in crucial penalties in big moments and missing tackles that fans are used to seeing the defense make. There were perfect examples of this in the Titans and 49ers games.
In the Titans game, a Brian Allen false start inside the 10 turned a 2nd-and-8 into a 2nd-and-11. Two plays later, Stafford threw his first interception.
Leading 3-0, Darrell Henderson took and handoff for five yards for 2nd-and-5. Instead, a holding penalty turned that into a 1st-and-15, forcing McVay to turn to throwing the ball and punting three plays later.
That doesn’t mention a roughing the passer and other unsportsmanlike conduct penalties that kept drives alive for Tennessee while the Rams were making a comeback.
The same can be said against the 49ers. Trailing 7-0, the Los Angeles Rams handed off to Henderson who ran for six yards. A holding penalty turned a 2nd-and-4 into 1st-and-19. Two plays later, Stafford threw and interception.
These are the things that are stalling drives and keeping the Rams offense out of rhythm. The Rams need to get back to playing disciplined football. If they do that, they’ll be in good shape in the second half.
3. Play The Matchups On Defense
Now, this doesn’t mean simply putting Jalen Ramsey on any teams’ number one wide receiver and calling it good. With the personnel that the Los Angeles Rams have, it’s more complicated than that. They don’t have a cornerback that can play well enough consistently in the slot outside of Ramsey. Ramsey is also very good close to the ball. By putting Ramsey on a team’s number one wide receiver and leaving him there, you’re taking him out of the game and making it 10v10.
This is more about making these simple and putting players in a good position to succeed. There’s no reason that Troy Reeder should be covering George Kittle or Deebo Samuel. At the same time, players like Darious Williams, Jordan Fuller, etc. need to make plays. You can put a player in a position to succeed, but they still need to be able to make the play.
The Rams defense is limited because of the personnel. That needs to be taken into account. Still, Morris can do better about dictating what offenses do rather than offenses dictating what the Rams do on defense. Adjustments need to be made. With Green Bay, Arizona, Minnesota, and Baltimore all on deck in the final seven games, the Rams don’t have time to stick with what they’ve done all year.